Pad printing is the technology of printing colored paint on the souvenirs. Its essence is that the paint is transferred through a silicone pad to the product. The difference from the silk-screen printing in the composition of the ink is that the pad printing applies paint to the rounded surfaces. Below we will understand how this technology arose, how it works, what printing processes it consists of, what types of ink and cliches exist, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of this technology.
Historically, the pad printing appeared in France and gained popularity after 1965, when it began to be used for printing on the watch dials. In 1971, the pad printing machine was presented at the exhibition, whence an order was made for a large batch of 300 machines and the technology significantly accelerated its distribution.
Pad printing process.
Pad printing begins with the manufacture of the cliches on which the surface is etched to apply the image. Each cliche corresponds to 1 print color. If you need several colors, several cliches are made. They are installed in the machine which can have from 1 to 4 cliches at a time. In addition to the cliche, the machine has a pad which is made of silicone and oil, it looks like a pear. And there is a base for installing the products on which you need to print. In the machine, the tampon moves from the cliche with paint to the product. Thus, it transfers the ink to the printed material, the ink does not remain on the tampon but is completely transferred to the product.
Types of cliches for the pad printing.
There are three types of clichés: photopolymer plates, metal photosensitive ones and steel plates. Initially, the photopolymer plates were used, the image was etched with water or alcohol but the quality was higher with the alcohol. They had to be screened so that the swab absorbs the paint evenly. They can last up to 10 000 prints. Now the more common metal plates are Alucorex, their etching takes 6-8 minutes, they do not need to be screened and their life is up to 200 000 prints. Although the steel plates are very difficult to manufacture, their print resistance reaches 1 000 000 prints.
Types of the pads.
According to the shape and the size the pads are generally made pear-shaped and up to 10*10 cm. Although other sizes and shapes are used in industry. Because the pad printing is used not only in advertising but also in the manufacture of a huge number of the industrial goods. Among themselves the tampons differ mainly in rigidity. It depends on the method of the manufacture, the less oil, the harder they are, the harder they are, the longer they last. But the hard tampons can not be used for printing on fragile surfaces, such as Christmas balls. And also the hard swab wears out the printing press faster.
Types of paints.
Three types of paints are used in the pad printing: one-component, two-component and UV-hardened paints. One-component paints are well absorbed into the surface if they are suitable for absorbing. However, glass, metal or plastic with a special coating will not allow the one-component paint to absorb and stick firmly to it. Therefore, they came up with a two-component paint in which a hardener is added, which allows the paint to stay firmly on smooth surfaces. However, these paints dry quickly and the period of their use is 6-8 hours, after which new paint must be mixed. Another difficulty is the proportion of the hardener, if it is more than necessary, the paint will dry quickly, if less than necessary, it will be liquid and lubricated. And finally, a new way to get the paint is when not solvent is used for hardening but UV irradiation. This speeds up the drying process of the paint but makes it more expensive, so it has not yet become widespread.
Types of the pad printing machines.
Machine tools come in different companies and models and differ among themselves mainly in that they are divided into manual and semi-automatic, as well as the number of clichés that can be simultaneously used. The more cliches you can set, the faster the printing process is. The semi-automatic one is also much faster than the manual one, as well as a more accurate match for the multicolor printing. Also, the print speed depends on the skill of the machine operator because products for printing in the manual mode are changing. There is a conveyor for products but it is used mainly in the industrial sector.
Advantages of the pad printing:
- Ability to print on round and uneven surfaces;
- Fast cliche production speed and printing efficiency;
- Ability to print on fragile, glass, metal and wooden products.
Disadvantages of the pad printing:
- Exposure to the mechanical or the chemical effects on the print;
- The restriction of printing by color, you can not make a full color image;
- The minimum circulation is from 20 pieces because for printing you need to make cliches;
- Small coverage, usually up to 10*10 cm.
Thus, the pad technology is old enough for advertising but widespread and almost indispensable for printing on round surfaces. It makes almost half of all the souvenir products, and this is a large number of products. Therefore, please contact us for the pad printing, even if our site does not have any position of goods, we can print on what you need.
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